Liposuction is a common, popular procedure that achieves permanent removal of excess fat that has remained after adequate diet and exercise. Liposuction is not a treatment for obesity. The hips, thighs, abdomen, arms, knees, ankles, face and neck are the areas appropriate for liposuction. Liposuction cannot correct body contours that caused by muscle or excess bunched skin. To maintain the safety of the procedure, there is a limit to the volume that can be removed at one time. Large volume liposuctions are done using general anesthesia as an outpatient in a surgical center. Small areas can be treated with local anesthesia in the office.

Liposuction is most effective in people with firm elastic skin that is capable of shrinking without drooping or wrinkling. Fat does not re-accumulate in areas that have been removed. If weight gain occurs following liposuction, the added fat will be deposited in areas that have not been suctioned.

The Procedure

Liposuction can be achieved with classical vacuum liposuction alone or with ultrasonic or laser pretreatment that melts the fat prior to vacuum liposuction.

  • A small (1/4 inch), incisions is made in discreet or hidden areas adjacent to the areas to be treated.
  • Prior to suction the fat is infused with a salt water solution containing adrenalin and/or xylocaine anesthetic. This process of pre-injection is called tumescence or super-wet infusion. The purpose is to reduce blood loss so that transfusion is not needed.
  • In some areas, the fat is pulsed with an ultrasonic probe or a laser probe to melt the fat before it is removed. Liposuction of the fat can be achieved with or without ultrasonic assistance.
  • A cannula attached to a suction machine (a hollow tube with openings at the tip) removes the fat.

What to expect after surgery

  • Recovery from liposuction is relatively quick but there is some soreness that is alleviated with pain medication.
  • Expect some swelling and bruising in the following two weeks.
  • You will wear special garments provided to apply pressure, minimize swelling and provide support while healing. These garments also assist in retraction of the skin.
  • Stitches will be removed after one week
  • The day after surgery you should be walking. Increase your activity daily until full activity is resumed at 2-4 weeks
  • Results are recognizable almost immediately and will continue to improve as swelling subsides.
  • You will be ready to return to office work in 3-5 days and more active employment at 7-14 days.